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February 21, 2005

Chancellor Denton: 'I want to hear your aspirations and goals'

By Jim Burns

Chancellor Denice D. Denton's first week on the job provided an early indication about the energy that she brings to the job.

Photo: Chancellor Denton at reception

Chancellor Denton speaks to faculty members Barry Bowman and Faye Crosby, center, and Rusty Bowman during a reception in her honor following the Academic Senate meeting.
Photo: Elizabeth Irwin

Multimedia: Scenes from Chancellor Denton's first week

Brief reception by the staff in her office
Interaction with UCSC alumni during UC Day in Sacramento
Academic Senate meeting and reception
Welcomed by preschoolers from the Children's Center

UCSC's ninth chancellor spent long hours during her first official week participating in a variety of introductory meetings with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and donors. "I want to hear your aspirations and goals, and I want to learn everything I can about your programs," she told members of the Academic Senate during one of those meetings. "UCSC is a wonderful place, and I feel very privileged and honored to be here."

Chancellor Denton said her early impressions of the campus have been very positive, underscoring her belief that diversity and excellence are UCSC's twin strengths.

The campus also has a "propensity for interdisciplinarity I have not encountered in other universities," she told the faculty on Wednesday. She added that the gap between the humanities and social sciences on one hand, and science and engineering on the other, is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon. "UC Santa Cruz can lead the way in how to build a bridge across that Grand Canyon," she said.

In addition to capitalizing on opportunities, Denton added, the campus must also address its challenges. She cited the need for faculty and staff housing, more child care, and further promotion of a family-friendly atmosphere as critical UCSC needs. And it's imperative that the campus work "to ameliorate the impact of UCSC growth on the community," she added, in remarks at the senate meeting.

A day earlier, Chancellor Denton traveled to Sacramento to participate in UC Day, the systemwide advocacy event at which alumni and other UC friends meet with lawmakers in the state capital. Denton received a warm welcome as the featured speaker at the annual UCSC alumni Sacramento chapter dinner that brings together area alumni, parents, and UCSC student interns from UC Center in Sacramento. Also attending were alumni Senate and Assembly fellows, as well as legislators.

On both ends of her first week were surprise welcomes to campus. On her first day, Chancellor's Office staff greeted her with a brief reception in their McHenry Library office. Near the end of her first week, she was treated to a visit by children from the campus's Children's Center. The children not only presented the new chancellor with a bouquet of flowers and an oversized Valentine's Day card, they stayed long enough to produce artwork for Denton as she discussed everything from superheroes to science with the excited youngsters.

Louise Donahue and Allison Garcia contributed to this article.

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